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Tourism drains at Idaho senator’s sex sting stall

Sunday, December 28, 2008 | 5:19 p.m. CST; updated 5:39 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 28, 2008

BOISE, Idaho — The men’s room at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport where Republican Sen. Larry Craig was arrested in a sex sting is losing its appeal as a tourist stop, an official said.

“We’re getting there,” said Patrick Hogan, director of public affairs for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “I think we’ll all be glad when there’s no special interest in that restroom.”

Craig was accused of soliciting sex in the bathroom in June 2007 and pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct in August 2007.

One person had offered to buy the restroom stall for $5,000, Hogan said, but airport officials “don’t sell fixtures for novelty purposes.”

Although tourist interest has withered, the surge of publicity from Craig’s arrest helped end the type of activity in the restroom that had prompted lewd-conduct complaints, he said.

Plans to modify the restroom to prevent occupants from passing signals were scrapped because complaints dropped.

“It is the busiest restroom at Minneapolis-St. Paul International,” Hogan told The Spokesman-Review. “It’s right in the middle of our main thoroughfare.”

Craig — who has maintained his innocence and heterosexuality — has said he only pleaded guilty to keep the embarrassing situation quiet. He attempted to withdraw his guilty plea, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals earlier this month rejected the appeal.

Craig, who said he was considering another appeal, did not seek re-election in last month’s election for the seat he has held for 18 years. He will be replaced in January by Idaho Lt. Gov. Jim Risch, a Republican.


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